“In our world, ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).
The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom.“
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 169-170
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is a confidential and prayerful relationship of trust between two people, in which one listens to the other, enabled by the Holy Spirit, in discerning, supporting, affirming and offering guidance and resources in the lifelong journey of spiritual growth and maturity. The material for spiritual direction is not only to do with prayer but with the whole of your life experience.
“With a spiritual director, I talk about what is happening in my heart where the Spirit is moving, if I feel desolation or consolation, if I am tired, why I am sad: these are the things to talk about with the man or woman who is my spiritual director.” Pope Francis, audience with religious, 16 May 2015
Why might you desire Spiritual Direction?
People come to spiritual direction for a variety of reasons, discovering how helpful it can be to share their faith journey with someone who has experienced the ups and downs, the struggles, the challenges – and the joys – of life and faith.
You may be looking for,
›› a safe, secure and confidential relationship in which to explore God’s work in your life and questions about the journey of Christian faith;
›› encouragement and affirmation without someone deciding for you – ‘direction’ is more accompaniment than directive;
›› the discipline of self-examination and being accountable to one other;
›› guidance in exploring fresh approaches to prayer;
›› companionship on the journey, both in the ‘every day‘ and during periods of discernment, change or challenge.
Your spiritual direction will start wherever you are in your journey and can help you integrate your spiritual life with all of life. People seeking accompaniment come from very different backgrounds and experience and have very different needs; our experienced directors will always respond to these flexibly and sensitively. Spiritual direction is open to anyone who seriously wishes to deepen their spiritual life and to grow as an authentically human person before God.
Who are Spiritual Directors?
Spiritual direction is not new; it has been a feature of Christian growth since desert monasticism of the fourth century onwards when people were drawn to seek spiritual guidance through the listening of another.
Directors on our network are listening men and women, lay, ordained and religious from a variety of Christian denominations and backgrounds who are aware of the riches of spiritual wisdom in scripture and in our Christian heritage.
They are committed to their own growth in responding to the invitation of God to know and love them. They have undergone recognised discernment processes and training and are committed to ongoing development and nurturing in their ministry.
Finding out more about Spiritual Direction
Taking the next step
Reflect prayerfully on what your preferences may be when looking for a spiritual director, so we may better be able to help you, such as,
›› male or female
›› lay, ordained or religious
›› close to home or further afield
›› spiritual tradition
›› any particular areas of interest or concern.
Contact our Network Coordinator, Sue Thomson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ministry of Spiritual Direction – Spiritual Directors please also contact Sue Thomson for further information.